Thursday, September 20, 2012

Phenomenally Bright: Can Barely Write Three Words

Through the encouragement of a friend
who is a speech language pathologist,
we decided to have our son tested for a learning disability.
We are nearly done with the process.

The test results have been surprising in several ways.
His strengths are 'phenomenal', according to the psychologist.
In fact, in the reading vocabulary results from one test,
they put him down as being age equivalent to a 48 year old.
He had a greater than 99.9% score.
I wonder if that is a typo.
He is ten.
He has the writing abilities of a six year old.
In academic knowledge, they say he is twenty, and a college freshman.
But he processes slowly.

It has been nerve-wracking for me as a homeschooling mom
to allow them to measure his education.
I don't have a school I can blame for academic failure.
On the psychoeducational report, and the special services report,
under relevant background information,
it is noted that he is home schooled and always has been.
There is a federal checklist they have to go down
to determine if he is eligible for services.
Does the child have a demonstrated need? Yes.
Is the low output due to low intelligence? No.
Is the low output due to inadequate instruction?
I felt like I was holding my breath as they went over this question with me.
Has it been enough?
Am I failing him miserably?
I didn't realize I was going to have to sit there
with a school administrator, a psychologist,
and a special education provider
and hear the answer to this question.
They told me they saw no evidence that he had been inadequately instructed.
That he had a very broad knowledge base.
Their educations between them probably add up to more than my age.
And they said the need was not due to lack of instruction.

The psychologist told me, "He has the mind of an engineer".
I knew that.
He draws intricate drawings with gears and levers and closeups of the details.
He can look at an object, spin it mentally, and draw it from multiple angles.
When he was two and a half,
he drew his first recognizable drawing: a many-windowed Jeep.
My other children scribbled.
As a still very small child,
he was drawing three dimensional vehicles in 3/4 view.
But he still writes letters and numbers backward.
I taught him to crochet a chain when he was seven.
He woke up early and crocheted a mitten.
With a thumb.
No pattern.
No skill beyond that simple chain had been taught to him.
Was it beautiful? No.
But it was functional.

He told them that he usually thinks of things in colors.
His mind makes different connections than the average person.
I feel my job as his mom
is to make sure he has the basic skills he needs
to allow his gifts to operate.

Why the 'areas of weakness', as the psychologist refers to them?
Because he pulled himself to standing at six months old
and started cruising the furniture within the week
and slipped and twirled in slow motion
just out of reach and too fast to catch
and hit the side of his head on the corner of the coffee table
and screamed like we had never heard him scream 
and while I held him and rocked and didn't know what to do 
his dad said, "What's wrong with his head?"
and I yelled, "There's nothing wrong with his head! 
What do you mean 'what's wrong with his head?'!"
and I looked at his head, and his skull was dented in
and we called my mom to ask for prayer
and grabbed the diaper bag and ran to the car 
to make the half hour drive to the emergency room
while he cried beside me in the backseat
and I cried too
and I prayed
and fifteen minutes in he stopped crying
and the amateur doctor questioned us closely
wanting to know when he really hit his head
because the CT scan showed 'an old injury'
and he said it would be swollen if it was new
and it wasn't swollen
but it was red
and they said he was fine 
and we knew the Lord had given him to us
but the dent took over four years to grow out?

Or is it because 
every time he had immunizations he spiked a fever of over 105 
and got double ear infections 
and that one time had a seizure but I didn't know it was a seizure
and thought he was being a freak 
and if I had known I would have brought him to the hospital
and reported an adverse event
and probably chewed out his doctor
but I hadn't done any research at that point and didn't know any better
and why didn't I look into it more before he was injected?

Or maybe when he tripped and fell in the fire ring 
and hit his head on the rock 
and I dragged him up the stairs to the bathroom 
to wash the blood away
and his knees buckled and I caught him
and he was so dazed he couldn't answer straight questions
and I watched him with worry to see if he was brain damaged
he was really brain damaged?
But that doesn't even make any sense 
because he already had trouble writing years before that
and I think I was a slow processor and probably still am
and it's more likely it was the vaccines.
And the dented head.
And I was vaccinated, too.
So maybe the slow processing is both genetic and environmental.
Both my fault and not my fault.

But what if he was brilliant in every single area
and I couldn't teach him anything,
and he was an insufferable ass
to everyone he met his entire life?
Weaknesses can be mercies.
Paul said, "that I should not be exalted overmuch,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh,
a messenger of Satan to buffet me,
that I should not be exalted overmuch."
God's strength is made perfect in weakness.
His grace is sufficient for us.
His power is made perfect in weakness.
It was when Jesus needed water that He impacted the Samaritans.
In getting help He gave it.
In asking He offered Himself.

We're in a new community,
and we've met several people through this we would not have met,
and I have been praying
and wondering how to be a part of the community.
Maybe this is our introduction.


lakatosfamily said...

Oh Laura - I love your mother's heart. Your budding engineer is going to blow them all away one day - and thank his mother.

Anna said...
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